I feel like a caged animal……like that tiger you see at the zoo, pacing back and forth in it’s cage, looking out through the bars. Looking at you, standing there, munching on a hot dog, looking at him. He’s thinking “if there were no bars….”, and you stand there chewing , thinking, “Wow. He’s so cool. Look , he’s looking right at me!”. Yup, that’s how I have felt the last five days since I injured myself. I look over at the weights from the treadmill, or the elliptical and I feel like I am in a cage.

But starting tomorrow, the cage door is opened! Yes, I am free, blissfully free once again to gorge myself at the weight buffet. Cardio is nice and all and it has it’s place in just about any workout regimen in the world, but that much is not in my programming. I salute those who spend endless hours in the cardio area, I don’t know how they do it. It takes a certain mental state to keep on that grind. It’s not wrong, it’s just not for me. I was made to lift heavy things. I enjoy it and I am built for it. All the men in my family seem to be.

So I have taken the down time I have had, and thrown out the workout I was doing at the time I was injured. I took a hard look at what I was doing, and some parts of it didn’t make sense. Other parts were not where I was in my current workout state. Then I looked at the program itself. I kinda bought it “off the rack” to use the phrase. I agreed with many elements of the programmer’s philosophy, as a result I adopted the whole thing. As a whole, there is nothing wrong with it. However, I am not some tall skinny guy, who has trouble gaining strength and muscle. It isn’t stated in the program, but upon further review, I think the target demographic is skinny-fat guys who don’t have a lot of functional strength. That, and there is a bunch of slick marketing and high production value videos that help suck you in. I let myself get sucked in.

Out with the old, in with the new…..

After some homework and a few drafts I have a brand new shiny workout plan. There are a lot of excellent resources out there to be used. Just make sure if you do this, start with the more academic ones. A lot of what is out there falls into the category of what the industry terms “bro-science”. Seems everyone who got themselves into decent shape, now has their own YouTube channel and they are now the resident experts on telling you that this will work for you, because it worked for them. Stick with the well worn paths here. There are a lot of  people and gyms out there, that have been doing this for a long time. Not just “hey I am an amateur power lifter, and I got my certification online, so I am qualified to dispense advice”. Also, a lot of fitness advice is stuff that is passed down from professionals to  amateurs, to gym people….and may NOT be appropriate because it is an advanced program, and/or maybe the person who is doing it is also chemically enhanced…The bottom line here, be careful and don’t be afraid to admit the mistake and start over if necessary.

Here we go. A Three-day split. I use a combination of a straight sets and reverse pyramid. Straight sets for general body part exercises and key lifts. Reverse pyramid mostly for auxiliary exercises. I didn’t follow the traditional ‘back and biceps’, ‘chest and triceps’ , the leg day philosophy.

Workout A: Chest and Back

General Chest: Bench Press, 4 Straight sets, 4-6 rep range

Upper chest: Incline bench, 2 Reverse pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

Auxiliary chest: Standing Cable Flys, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

General Back: Barbell Bent Over Row, 3 Straight sets, 4-6 reps

Traps: Trap Bar Shrug, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

Lats: Pull-Ups (Assisted), 4 Straight sets, 6-8 reps (I choose the higher volume of straight sets because this is a weak spot for me)

General Back (auxiliary): Dumbbell Bent over row, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

note: triceps and biceps are worked as synergists for most of these exercises. Therefore, I am working them at the end of the week to allow for sufficient recovery.

Workout B: Legs (No calf exercises, I feel mine are developed enough for now)

Quads: Low-bar back squat, 4 straight sets, 6-8 reps

Hamstrings: Straight Back Dead lift, 4 straight sets, 6-8reps

Auxiliary Quads: Seated Leg Press, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 6-8/8-10 reps

Hip Flexors: Hanging leg raise or decline sit-ups, 4 straight sets, 8-10 reps

Abdominal: Ab Wheel, or weighted crunches,  straight sets, 8-10 reps

Work Out C: Arms

Front Deltoid: Barbell Shoulder Press, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

Lateral Deltoid: Barbell Upright row, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

Rear Deltoid: Reverse Cable Flys. 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

Triceps: Dumbbell lying Triceps extension, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

Biceps: Barbell Curls, 2 Reverse Pyramid sets, 4-6/6-8 reps

Triceps (Auxiliary) Dips, 4 straight sets, 8-10 reps

Brachialis (Forearm): Preacher Curls, 3 straight sets, 8-10 reps

Brachioradialis:  Dumbbell Hammer Curls, 3 Straight sets, 8-10 reps

Wrist Flexors: Dumbbell Wrist Curls, 3 Straight sets, 8-10 reps

Wrist Extensors: Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curls, 3 Straight sets, 8-10 reps

So there it is. Take note, this is made just for me. Based on where I know my weaknesses are, and what key lifts that I want to get stronger at. No cardio is listed. Those workouts will be done where I can fit them it, as long as it is at least two per week. I generally don’t do cardio on weight days, solely because it adds another 30 minutes or more to the gym. Also, Workout C is generally done on Fridays or Saturdays, so it can be longer. I try and keep workouts on weekdays when I have to work the next day to an hour or less in order to not screw up my after work schedule. I will take a planned de-load week at the four week mark. I might do only two cycles of this before I switch  my programming around. Depending on where I end and what my new fitness goal ends up being, will have a lot to do in determining what comes next. I know , I promised a goal like a week ago…..but I am torn between a few things.We shall see.

Till then….





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